Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Child prostitution

'We reached Pune armed with information about two Bangladeshi victims, aged 16 and 14. After planning the investigation, two Freedom Firm operatives searched the area but couldn't find the girls. Unfortunately our information was inaccurate. Although discouraged, the operatives moved up the street to do random investigations. Entering a building nearby, they noticed a girl aged about 14 or 15 through an open door. She was crying and appeared desperate. Two men were negotiating a price for the girl with a brothel keeper while trying to convince the girl to prostitute. She was refusing but that didn't appear to matter.
They called me immediately with the information and we agreed that the operatives should "engage the girl" (pay for time with her) to buy us time to call in the local police. They paid for one hour, and in order to stall a little longer had drinks brought for them and soda pop for the girl.
Meanwhile, I called the Crime Branch of Pune and requested for urgent intervention to rescue the targeted girl. I kept close surveillance, and within 10 minutes the Crime Branch team arrived, met up with me, and called in the local police to raid the brothel. Together we entered the building. We found a total of six minor girls who had been forced into prostitution there and rescued them all. The traffickers tried to escape from the brothel, but the police caught them; in all, the brothel keeper, two male traffickers, and a female trafficker were arrested.
As we prepared to leave the scene, a mob of local pimps, customers and brothel keepers formed around one of the operatives and me. Fortunately, the police had not yet left and they were able to escort us to safety.'
This account comes from Shyam K., Freedom Firm's Senior Investigator. Shyam works with our team of operatives to find trafficked girls. He then assists local police to raid brothels, rescue girls, and arrest perpetrators.

Freedom Firm
78/85, Indu Sadan
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India
643 001

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